Resources collected from my personal study, suggested for your personal study.
Every week I bring you a list of articles, podcasts, and sermons that I found helpful for my own edification. My hope is that you also will find these useful in your personal growth in the Christ.
Last week I put an article about reading biographies in the mix. This week it is much the same with reading history. However, I think a better title might be, “Why Everyone Should Read History, Especially Christians”! Scott Slayton does a great job explaining why reading history is so beneficial.
I’m not sure I have ever read or listen to anything by Tim Keller and walked away thinking, “That was unhelpful!”. The same goes for this talk given at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Here are the 4 ways, as he explains, how the gospel transforms work:
- Christian faith gives you a new identity, without which work can sink you.
- Christian faith gives you a new concept of the dignity of all work, without which work can bore you.
- Christian faith gives you a moral compass, without which work can corrupt you.
- Christian faith gives you a new worldview, without which work will be your master instead of your servant.
Looking for someone to fire you up about the gospel in the midst of tough cultural change? David Platt is your guy! This is a great interview with him about the re-release of his book “Counter Culture”. It’s about 30 minutes long. I found it encouraging.
One of my favorite formats to learn from is listening to a discussion between several people educated on the subject. It brings some much nuance to the issue being discussed. This is a panel discussion between Tim Keller, John Piper, Jonathan Leeman, Mike McKinley, Tom Schreiner, and Hunter Powell on the subject of Christian freedom.
This is the kind of article that gets my heart pumping! Let me give you a paragraph for flavor:
So God’s sovereignty allows us to be opportunistic and entrepreneurial. In his parable of the talents, or bags of gold (Matthew 25:14-30), Jesus likens himself to a master who entrusts resources to his servants while he’s away. When he returns, he commends two servants with the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”, because they made the most of what they’d been given. The third servant is condemned because he just protected what he had. He didn’t take any risk in trying to do something creative with the master’s resources.
Jesus was warning that many will be horrified to discover that attempting nothing for Jesus reveals that they were never his true disciples—because genuine disciples care so much for their Master’s gospel business that they will accept unavoidable risks to advance it. Real disciples don’t live too safely, because they love their Master enough to have a go.
Patience is a virtue! A virtue that few posses. Especially in our western culture where we are taught “If it works, it’s right!”. Christians aren’t called to such pragmatism, but rather we are called to persevere. Faithfully doing what is right regardless of what seems to work. Don’t get me wrong, what God designs always works. It’s just not on our time table.
The blog “Sayable” is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. Not because of its practicality or deep intellectual theology, though it has some of that, but because it feels so much like reading real life! Like a clean mirror reflecting a dirty wall. It makes “sayable” much of the things we all experience. This article is actually a book recommendation on a book called “Struck” by Russ Ramsey (which I have not read). The excerpt she gives from the book is well worth a few minutes. Here is a flavor:
Lamentation is a part of worship. It is that part of us that cries out over the sorrow of the suffering, pain, and relational brokenness by which we have all been hurt. I lament to the Lord that over these past two years I have been the bruised reed he has promised not to break. I am the smoldering wick he has promised not to extinguish. I am the brokenhearted whose wounds need binding. God gave me this body with all of its physical limits, and then he broke me. He is at the same time my Healer and the one who has permitted my affliction.
The deeper I venture into this affliction, the more questions I have. But I remember C. S. Lewis who said, “When I lay these questions before God I get no answer. But a rather special sort of ‘no answer.’ It is not the locked door. It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze. As though he shook his head not in refusal but waiving the question. Like, ‘Peace, child; you don’t understand.’”
It makes me want to pick up a copy soon!
A great question to ask yourself on a regular basis. Our hearts are so wicked and sick we cannot understand our own motivations often. And because of this we smuggle our idols into the church with us.
As ever, may the Lord bless you and keep you! – Steven